Volunteers honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with Day of Service

Dozens of community volunteers came out for the annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service on the Richmond Greenway on Saturday, Jan. 21, 2019 (photos by Mike Aldax and Mike Kinney)

Back when he first began participating in the annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service in Richmond, the effort occurred in “one event, one place,” Richmond Mayor Tom Butt said Monday.

Not so anymore.

“I’ve been going to events all day long and still I can’t get to all of them,” the mayor said. “It just keeps getting bigger and bigger.”

At various locations throughout the city on Monday, hundreds if not thousands of community volunteers chose to take their day off of work to spend time beautifying their community.

Much of the activity took place along the Richmond Greenway, an ever-evolving 3-mile former railroad corridor that has transformed into a pedestrian and bicycle pathway. The 12th Annual MLK Day of Service on the Richmond Greenway featured such activities as weeding, mulching and trash cleanup at 6th Street, 8th Street, 16th Street and Carlson Boulevard.

Work was done near the new BMX park “Dirt World,” and also next to Unity Park, where a moment of silence was held in honor of Dr. King at noon, and where the nonprofit Rich City Rides repaired bicycles for donation and had volunteers build out its evolving Bike Hub.

At Harbour-8 Park, the Iron Triangle-based nonprofit Pogo Park unveiled a full-scale, 3-D Mock-Up of proposed improvements to the park, located between Harbour Way and 8th Street. Community members received a tour of proposed improvements from nonprofit staff, including Pogo Park founder Toody Maher. Enhancements included two Entry Gateways, a Red Brick Plaza, a Miniature Play Field (that kids could test out Monday), and a Senior Area/Quiet Zone.

Pogo Park staff took input from community members on proposed improvements to Harbour-8 Park on the Richmond Greenway on Jan. 21, 2019.

Work wasn’t only being done on the Greenway. At North Richmond Farm at 323 Brookside Drive, community members constructed new crop rows to grow more food, cleaned the swales leading to the creek and planted fruit trees, among other activities.

Meanwhile in Parchester Village, a project fueled by a Love Your Block mini-grant had residents, including many kids, constructing an edible garden that will be dedicated to community activist Mary “Peace” Head, a World War II Rosie and known to many as the “Mayor of Parchester.”